Leading for Creativity

Empower others to generate and execute bold ideas
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Learn chair of IDEO Tim Brown’s personal leadership philosophy and methods to scale creativity within your team and organization. You’ll learn how to guide teams into the unknown through the process of experimentation, break down a bold vision into actionable challenges, and make adjustments to culture to support creativity. Tim, along with some of IDEO’s most experienced leaders, will help you unlock the potential of your team and organization.

Course Outcomes
  • Instill purpose, inspire, and motivate people to think beyond their job.
  • Increase your team and organization’s capacity for innovation by creating a culture of experimentation.
  • Enable others to tap into their potential by crafting well-framed questions.
  • Build trust and stay present and engaged with the work of your team.
  • Reinforce the beliefs and behaviors of creativity by designing rituals to guide your culture.
Course Themes
Leadership Culture Navigating Ambiguity
Format Online Cohort Course
Start Date
Duration 5 Weeks
Time 4 Hours/Week
Regular price
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Unit price
Download Syllabus

What You'll Learn

Week 1: Introduction

Explore how a curious mindset can help you challenge assumptions, inspire others, and unlock creativity.
Watch a sneak peek
  • Leading for Creativity—A taste of the learning experience
3 Video Lessons
  • Getting Started—A preview
  • The Mindset of Curiosity—The power of questions
  • About Your Instructor: Tim Brown, Chief Executive Officer, IDEO
1 Assignment
  • Finding Answers Through Questions—The next meeting you go to, record all the questions asked. Think about what these questions started to illuminate.

2 Discussions
  • What does leading for creativity mean to you? How might your team or organization benefit from more creative support?
  • What’s your biggest question? What inspires you and pushes you to think bigger?

Week 2: Leading with a Strong Point of View

Set a new course for your team or organization by crafting a well-framed challenge.
4 Video Lessons
  • The Explorer—Setting the course for success
  • Frame a Challenge—Striking a balance
  • Frame a Challenge—Creating challenge questions
  • Other Ways to Lead with a Strong Point of View—Hiring talent
1 Assignment
  • Leading with a Strong Point of View—Connect your day-to-day work with your organization's purpose and vision.

4 Discussions
  • When have you seen leading with a strong point of view shut people down? When have you seen it inspire others?
  • Imagine a challenge you're working on right now. What would your dream team look like?
  • What are other examples of leading with a strong point of view?
  • What will be easy to integrate into your team or organization? What will be difficult?

Week 3: Leading Through Culture

Design rituals that reinforce the beliefs and behaviors of creative teams and organizations.
5 Video Lessons
  • The Gardener—Nudging culture
  • Design a Ritual—Reinforcing beliefs & behaviors (Part I)
  • Design a Ritual—Reinforcing beliefs & behaviors (Part II)
  • Other Ways to Lead Through Culture—Physical spaces
  • Nudge Culture—Nudge culture with IDEO
1 Assignment
  • Leading Through Culture—Design and try out a ritual for your co-workers, family, or friends.

5 Discussions
  • Think of a time you saw a change in culture make a significant difference. What happened? What was the impact?
  • How does your organization or team’s culture compare to our list of creative beliefs and behaviors? What are the gaps and tensions?
  • What inspired you about using physical spaces to set conditions that help creativity thrive? How might you translate this to your own work or life?
  • How might you design a moment to encourage open conversation within your organization? What are the ways you might nudge your organization's culture to better support creativity?
  • What do you personally find most challenging about leading through culture?

Week 4: Leading Alongside

Stay present and engaged with the work of your team as they experiment with innovative ideas.
3 Video Lessons
  • The Coach—Staying present
  • Guide an Experiment—Supporting your team at critical times
  • Other Ways to Lead Alongside—Career navigation
1 Assignment
  • Leading Alongside—Practice coaching your team through ambiguous moments

4 Discussions
  • What person has played a coaching role in your life? What's one unique characteristic or skill this person possesses?
  • Share a time when you guided an experiment and it didn't go as planned. Where was the breakdown? Which tip could have helped you guide your team forward, and why?
  • What other ways do you find yourself leading alongside others? How has that experience helped you grow as a leader?
  • What are your strategies for staying present and engaged? How will you know when to lean in and when to create space for your team to take ownership?

Week 5: Conclusion

Get advice from Tim on practicing the behaviors and mindsets from the course, and design your leadership plan.
1 Video Lesson
  • Course Conclusion—Go lead for creativity
1 Assignment
  • Final Project—Design your leadership plan and commit to behaviors and mindsets from the course.

1 Discussion
  • What's the thing you're most excited about taking with you as you go off and lead for creativity?

Meet Your Instructors

Tim Brown

Chair of IDEO

Tim Brown led IDEO for more than 19 years. He speaks frequently about the value of design thinking and innovation. He has earned numerous design awards and exhibited work at galleries including the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He wrote the book Change by Design.

More About Tim

Collaborate with a Global Community

Loved by Learners Across the Globe

April Philips, FASLA
April President & Principal April Philips Design Works, Inc.
Cassie Schneider
Cassie Associate Product Manager Bradley Corporation
Emily Fields Joffrion
Emily Brand & Comms Consultant Forbes
Rachel Anderson
Rachel Design & UX Lead Firefly Learning
Leading for Creativity
Cohort Course

“It was perfect timing with my desire to shift my firm's vision as we were beginning to hire new staff. It really provided insight to the process in ways I hadn't experienced just by listening to TED Talks and reading articles. The assignments added more focus to the learning.”

April San Francisco, CA
Leading for Creativity
Cohort Course

“Leadership is a new role for me and I found a lot of great information from the course. I think that those who have been in a leadership role for a period of time will also find this course beneficial to get them to think in a different way.”

Cassie Milwaukee, WI
Leading for Creativity
Cohort Course

“I learned how to bring design thinking into my role as a cultural facilitator and in-house executive coach and built an entire program by applying IDEO U's creative framework to my work. The energy around these new skills springboarded me into launching a consultancy and taking huge, creative strides as a leader.”

Emily San Francisco, CA
Leading for Creativity
Cohort Course

“A few months after taking the Leading for Creativity course I was promoted to lead design in our organisation. The fact that I was already demonstrating creative leadership qualities helped the leaders make this decision, and I felt confident enough to accept the offer, knowing what is expected of a creative leader.”

Rachel London, UK

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